All done

By , 12 October, 2008 19:06

Photo of incision sitesThat’s it, all done and I’m happy to report that I’m now pain free as far as my lower back and leg go for the first time in years. I’m still sore from the surgery but this will settle down over time, especially once the ‘staples’ have been removed and things heal naturally.

The biggest surprise for me was that on arrival at the hospital and being seen by the consultant neuro-surgeon, he told me that he had decided not to do the trial run but to go ahead with the full and final procedure there and then. This was a fantastic bonus for me, as it meant that there would only be one procedure and not two which obviously meant only one visit and less time in hospital.

I’m told that the procedure is relatively simple. They made an incision just below the shoulder blades and placed one end of the lead along the spinal cord. This end ‘forks’ and has a number of electrodes which transmit the stimulation to either side of the cord.  The lead was then ‘threaded’ along the spine to the stimulator unit that was placed in a ‘pocket’ cut just above my right buttock, which has left me with a nice small hump.

Once the surgical part of the process had been completed, a technician then calibrated the stimulator and loaded the different programs that vary the types on stimulation available. This took some time as there are so many variables to consider but once completed, it gives me total control over how the pain is managed.

The stimulator unit itself  is controlled from a remote control which I hold over the buried unit when I activate any of the buttons to change the stimlation level or type.

The stimulator runs on rechargeable batteries which should last for years, meaning I don’t have to be cut open to have them changed (phew). The charger is a small disc-like unit which sits in a recharging base station. When I need to recharge the stimulator, I am prompted by the remote, I then take the charging disc and stick it on the skin over the stimulator using a double sided sticky pad. The charge then passes through my skin to the stimulator beneath. The remote lets me know once it’s charged and I’m ready to go again.

This whole thing has meant the start of a new life; free of pain and freedom to do the the things I had previously taken for granted. Needless to say, I’ll be making the most of it once I’ve got the soreness out of the way and it’s declared safe to do so.

A big thank you to the manufacturer of the ‘Precision Plus‘ Spinal Cord Stimulation hardware that’s made this possible, Boston scientific, the staff at Hurstwood Park neurological unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath for their kindness and professionalism. Many thanks to Dr. Stephen Ward and James Akinwunmi for their work in obtaining this treatment for me and James in particular for doing the surgery.

4 Responses to “All done”

  1. Alberta Feasby says:

    Dear Vic
    just been reading your story.. amazing. Hope you are still keeping well. I have just been discharged from Hurstwood Park for the second time having had an infection following removal of a large brain tumour. James Akinwunmi was my consultant, I came across you as I was googling him. Isnt Hurstwood a very special place? I get very emotional talking about it. The surgeons are just brilliant, some among the top in the country, and yet they are so humbling.
    A few of us are keeping in touch, even the patients are nice.Later on when we are all a bit stronger we are planning to meet in Brighton and have a meal. You are very welcome to join us. My mobile is *************.
    Also on Saturday 27/06/09 there is a fundraising day for Hurstwood Park at Primrose Cottage. Vine Cross Road,Horam. 12.30 – 4.30. Tel 01435 810396 for info or if you want to make any donations for stalls etc.
    I intend to go and run a stall if my sister can take me as I NOW CANT DRIVE FOR 2 years.
    Hope you get this message.

    best wishes

    Alberta

  2. Vic says:

    Thanks Alberta. Yes, Hurstwood Park is an amazing place, the staff are doing stirling work there and are second to none. It would be fair to say that James and Stephen changed our lives with this surgery. Good to hear that you’re on the mend and long may it continue, I wish you all the best.

    Thanks for the information on the fund raising day, we may well pop along.

    Best wishes

    Vic

    PS I’ve edited out your last name and phone number for your protection.

  3. Very inspiring article. This moved me and thank you for sharing. hoping for your fast recovery. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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  4. It’s so nice to read a story like yours! Very inspiring. I’m so happy that you are now free of pain and can now make the most out of it. Will surely share your story to friends and patients. I do hope that all is well up until today. Cheers!

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